Taral Hicks Talks Tyler Perry’s Aunt Bam’s Place
Taral Hicks Talks Tyler Perry’s Aunt Bam’s Place
By Wilson Morales
June 13, 2012
Currently out on DVD, Digital Download and On Demand this week is Tyler Perry’s hard- hitting new musical, Tyler Perry’s Aunt Bam’s Place (The Play), which stars Cassi Davis, Melonie Daniels, Paris Bennett, Taral Hicks, Maurice Lauchner, and Jeffrey Lewis.
When family’s falling out, it’s time to call in Aunt Bam to set a few things straight! The fun begins when Bam’s favorite nephew-in-law, Stewart, is granted weekend visitation with his children. He and his new wife are thrilled at the chance — until Stewart’s drunken ex shows up with trouble in mind. Now it’s up to Bam to calm things down in this high-spirited new play from Tyler Perry.
The DVD contains seven original songs by Tyler Perry and Elvin Ross, cast interviews and a behind-the-scenes featurette.
For Hicks, who plays Mona, the role gives her a chance to return to the stage where the Bronx native first started her acting and singing career. In the early 90s, Hicks was seen in numerous films, including Robert De Niro’s A Bronx Tale, Just Cause, The Preacher’s Wife, and The Salon. She also appeared on screen in the popular short film, Are You Cinderella?, with actor Wood Harris.
Blackfilm.com recently spoke with Hicks as she talked about her role in the play and her return to the stage world.
How long was the production?
Taral Hicks: It was a 3-day run in Atlanta and it was an exciting run. It was so great to be on stage and show everyone what ‘Aunt Bam’s Place’ is all about.
What’s your role in the show?
TH: I play the role of Mona and she is charismatic, smart, witty, and she’s the younger wife of Stewart. She’s trying to fit in the family. She’s very close to the age of his kids and you can see that it presents a little bit of a problem. She’s trying to let them know that she loves the children, loves the family, and most importantly, loves their dad, and that she’s going to stick it out during the bad times that are in their lives.
What was the attraction to doing the play?
TH: I was really excited to get the call. My sister D’Atra has worked with Tyler Perry before on his stage productions and I had never worked with him so I was really excited. I started my career on stage and a lot of people don’t know that. I did ‘Mama, I Want To Sing!’ when I was 12 and then I jumped into films. I didn’t do that much stage afterwards, so to return to the stage was exhilarating. I loved it. The one thing about being on stage is that there are no do-overs. You have to get up there and get it right the first time. It really challenged me to pull my best out. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be coached by Tyler Perry and watch him direct us and teach us things on stage that will work for the show. It was a great experience.
How was working with the cast?
TH: Working with this cast was great. Working with Cassi Davis was such a treat to his cast as everyone just put their best foot forward from Melonie Daniels, Paris Bennett, Maurice Lauchner, and Jeffrey Lewis. Everyone pulled out what each character needed for the show. It’s a really heartfelt play and you’re going to leave getting something from it. You’re going to get love and compassion. It’s a good message.
Although this is a stage production, most people are more familiar with the film work you had done in the 90s. There was a stretch of time where we hadn’t seen you on the big screen. How come?
TH: I took a break to spend time with family, raise my voice and when I got the call for ‘Aunt Bam’s Place,’ it was like reintroducing myself back to stage and let people know that there’s more parts of this girl than just a film career. I sing too. God has blessed me with a great voice, which I’m truly thankful for. I’m thankful for the gift that he’s given me. I jumped at this opportunity because I knew I could sing and act at the same time. It’s so great to bring both of my talents to the table.
How’s your music career?
TH: I’m currently working on an inspirational LP and I’m about midway to finish with it. It will introduce a new side to me. A lot of people don’t know that I grew up in church and my grandfather was a pastor. I have uncles that are preachers and pastors to this day and it’s a part of me and I just want people to know the inspirational gift that I have within to encourage and enlighten peoples’ hearts.
From what I read, I understand you also teach when not working on stage or film. Are you still doing that?
TH: I love kids and if there’s something I can give back to them, I will always teach. We’re growing up in a society where our kids need to learn more than ever and if I can be a part of changing a youngster’s life, then I’m there and doing it.
What keeps you grounded?
TH: God keeps me grounded. My spirituality keeps me grounded. There is no me without him. I give all credit and all thanks to God for keeping me in place. I also have a great family and a great set of friends. I love all of them dearly and to me, nothing is better than that. Nothing is better than know you have people around you that really have your best interests at heart and love you just as much as you love them. That’s the grounded inspiration that I have to stay focus until I make my mark in the world.